This week, I had the pleasure of meeting Esmeralda Melchor. Esmeralda is a Long Beach native who decided to attend CSULB because she didn’t want to leave home. She loves living in Long Beach way too much to move anywhere else. She is a freshman and is a film major. For her sophomore year she is hoping to join the film club to get more involved in school. She told me she was heavily influenced by her mom to major in film because growing up her mom would always have a video camera in hand recording her and her siblings. Now she wants to be the one with the camera. She is mainly interested in becoming a director. It is her dream to make and direct music videos. Her favorite type of music is everything rap and alternative. When she is not at school Esmeralda works at candy shop in Long Beach called Sugar Daddies. Her favorite candies are Sour Belts.
Artist: Laura Lopez
Media: Drawing and painting
Gallery: Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Laura Lopez was born and raised in Colombia. She decided to move to the U.S. about 3 years ago to go to art school. However, she plans to return to Colombia soon after she finishes her Master’s degree in fine arts. She misses the tropical atmosphere of Colombia which heavily influenced her thesis exhibition. She is inspired by all the nature from her home town that helps her create her art. She is currently majoring in drawing and painting at CSULB’s School of Art. When she is not painting, Lopez enjoys being with friends in her free time.
Lopez’s exhibition was beautifully filled with color. Her large paintings of the jungle were detailed and demanded attention from the viewer. Although she used colors and shapes that are not normally found in a jungle, those aspects gave the paintings an edge with a bit of abstraction and surrealism. The colors were especially prominent giving off a metaphor that the jungle is alive and has a spirit or a personality of its own. The character Lopez gave her jungle paintings with the colors and patterns construct a visual narrative about the natural world. Thus, creating a new way to experience nature.
Lopez’s work was obviously inspired by the jungle. She admires the way nature builds and creates different types of life forms that are interconnected and grow together as a whole to create one ecosystem. She claims that the intelligence of nature is reflected in her work. Lopez was also inspired by the belief of Pantheism which is the idea that the whole universe is full of spirit and life is a whole spiritual reality. To her, nature is the most sacred temple. She uses color and pattern to build imagery and composition. The linear structures in her work function to express organic growth in natural ecosystems as the jungle and other wild forests.
Synthesis/ My Experience
Lopez’s exhibition was such a beautiful experience of the jungle. By looking at the paintings it is obvious how much she connects with and feels at home in the jungles of Colombia. She told me how it is her true home where her roots are planted which supports her creative life to bring this metaphor into visualization. I absolutely loved her notion to express her emotions about her home to life through her art.
What was human life like before electricity & the light bulb?
Pretty damn lame. I’m assuming. I honestly was not very excited to do this activity when our professor told us about it, but it didn’t turn out to be so bad. The purpose of this activity was to spend an entire night without electricity so we can imagine what it was like to live a thousand years ago when humans did not have light and electricity. I know that now it is something that we take for granted. I have always had electricity in my life since the day I was born and have come to rely on it heavily. Most humans today do.
So for my night without electricity, I did a couple non-electric related type things. I took some pictures of what I was going to do before the sun went down to show you guys and then turned off my phone.
I spent most of the night outside in my backyard so I wouldn’t be tempted by any electricity in my house. I live with my parents and my 3 siblings who use a lot of electricity. The TV is usually always on, music is always playing somewhere and they are always on their phones. So being outside was my best bet. I started about an hour before the sun went down and spent it playing with my dogs.
After playing with my dogs outside for a while in the dark, I decided to get this candelabra we have in my house and light it so I could do some painting outside. This wasn’t the best idea. Painting by candle light is not very easy as the lighting is not very good. I know some of the best artists in history could only make their masterpieces in candle light, but I just wasn’t able to see clearly and didn’t get very far with my painting and gave up.
My next activity was trying to read a book by candle light. Also not fun. I got this Bad Feminist book on my birthday last month and thought today would be a good day to start reading it. However, reading in the dim light is the perfect recipe for a headache. I didn’t even make it past the prologue.
After my failed attempts to keep myself entertained in the dark, I decided to go back inside. A few hours had past already so I just decided to end my night and go to sleep. It was probably the earliest I have gone to bed in a long time. It took what felt like forever to fall asleep but the bright side of it all was that I woke up the next day feeling extremely well rested.
Overall, this was a very frustrating activity to do. I mean it wasn’t too hard to be without electricity but it was a little boring doing this activity on my own. I knew it was going to be a little tough going in to it because I rely on electricity so much. The bright side to this dark activity was that I did get some amazing sleep. Maybe I should refrain from electricity after the sun goes down solely for this purpose haha. Living without electricity is also more organic and harmonious with nature since I did have to spend a lot of time outside. But it is more limited and boring because most of the activities we are used to doing require electricity. I really don’t know how people survived without constant stimulation. I truly wonder what they did…
Artist: Alice Andreini
Exhibition: No-Man’s Land
Media: Drawing and painting
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Alice Andreini is graduate student at CSULB’s School of Art. She is a drawing and painting major working on getting her Master’s degree in Fine Arts. This exhibition served as her thesis for her degree. She is originally from Minnesota but found her self in San Diego awhile back and then ended up in Long Beach for school. She has always had an interest in art while growing up but was too scared to pursue it as a career since it was not very practical. So for her undergraduate degree she went with medicine at first but then switched to theater arts when she realized she needed to pursue at least some type of art. When she is not working on her paintings in the studio she enjoys reading poetry and philosophy in her free time. After she receives her Master’s she hopes to continue to create paintings and become a college professor.
Walking into Andreini’s exhibition, I immediately noticed five very large and colorful canvases. Except for one canvas that was small and black and white. The paintings were detailed to the extreme. They contained several colors and layers of paint that gave them a sort of 3D effect. They also contained several geometric lines and shapes that gave the paintings an illusion of a virtual grid. It was obvious that these were landscapes of golf courses but with a bit of abstraction and surrealism. Golf courses are known for being very nature filled and picturesque. However, Andreini challenges this notion with her paintings by creating a new way to experience nature.
Andreini claims that the way her landscapes are framed reveals the ideologies of a culture. In America, there is a frame for nature where it is presented as an uncontaminated “truth” even though it as already been appropriated as a body of symbols. According to Andreini, nature is regarded as a “pure” form but it’s innocence has been spoiled and used to profit through expansions of territories. In her paintings she reveals the constructs and seductions of the landscapes. The golf courses represent the allure of the American pastoral but she works them into a net of spatial and ideological constructs that are unveiled to create a new realm where perceptions are disrupted. This her new way of experiencing the world.
Synthesis/ My Experience
It is weird to think of nature as being something technological, when technology is anything but natural. At a first glance, I did not realize Andreini’s paintings were nature landscapes because they don’t resemble anything natural. But then, the poles with the little flags gave the golf courses away. It is interesting how she created a landscape while making it look like a movie animators draft. With her paintings, I believe that Andreini succeeded in uncovering the machine under nature and converting it into a virtual reality.
For this week’s classmate conversation, I talked to Jackie Perez. Jackie is from Maywood, California which is near Downtown LA. It is her first year here at CSULB and she is studying film. She told me she commutes to school but she wishes she dormed here so she could experience what it is like. She decided to major in film because she really enjoys movies and the aesthetic pleasure she gets from watching them. She told me, she loves the insane happy feeling she gets when she goes to Disneyland or watches a Disney movie, so it is her goal to direct movies that will make people happy and give a similar euphoric feeling. In her free time she enjoys drawing, reading online and scrolling through tumblr. When I asked her if she had any pets, she told me a pretty sad story about how she used to have 2 dogs but they recently ran away. She’s been devastated ever since they were not able to find them. Despite that, Jackie seems like a really happy and kind person and I really enjoyed my little chat with her. Check out her blog here!
Artist: Yujia Gu
Exhibition: Tracing Gun Violence in the USA
Media: Installations, Info-graphics, LED display.
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
About The Artist
Yujia Gu is a student at CSULB’s School of Art and is working to get her Masters in fine arts. She moved to the United States from Asia about three years ago and has been enjoying her time going to school and living in Long Beach. She was hesitant to move to the US at first because of all the gun violence happening here that they hear about over seas. Her mother was especially worried for her safety but nonetheless Gu was determined to study in the US. She was intrigued to know if the gun violence was real or not.
In her exhibition, Gu reveals some astonishing statistics about gun violence in the US. Her exhibition includes statistics about mass shootings, the comparisons of gun violence among different countries, the number of children killed by guns since Newtown and much more. The way these statistics are presented is essential to the art show. She includes an info-graphic map that points to the places where gun violence happened during the last 72 hours in the US. She also has an LED display showing the number of people who were shot every day. Perhaps the most shocking part of her exhibition is the writing on the wall that reads “More and more people are buying guns to protect themselves from more and more people who are buying guns.” This is to show that gun violence is an endless loop.
Before moving to the US Gu did extensive research on gun violence in the US. Her interest in it is what inspired her exhibition. The purpose of it is to make people realize how serious the gun violence here is. From her research, she has discovered that schools, business buildings and places that are more active and populated have a higher risk of having gun violence. Her main goal is to inform the viewer about all the gun violence happening around us and to encourage them to understand that it is necessary to learn how to properly use guns and have gun control.
Synthesis/ My Experience
I was really surprised to learn some of the statistics presented in Yujia Gu’s exhibition. I think a lot of the time the people who live in the US like to turn our heads to the side and pretend that this isn’t all happening. People like Yujia who live in other countries take it more seriously than we even do. Gun violence is a serious issue in our lives and gun control needs to be improved. This exhibition was definitely a eye opener.
The USU Wedge.
Ever since my very first day as a freshman here at CSULB, I have always used the Wedge as a passage to get to where I was going. To be completely honest I think its hilarious that we are doing this assignment to redesign the architecture of it because I have always thought it was a problem as well! It’s a pedestrian traffic nightmare! Like what was going on in the architect’s mind when he decided to design this weird pillar/wall like thing and leave a tiny little space in the corner just big enough for a person to squeeze through? Like, someone please send him or her back to architecture school or something…seriously.
Anyway, after four years at this school and using and observing others use the wedge, I have narrowed it down as to why this causes traffic. The truth is… we are all just LAZY. It is so much easier to pass through the wedge than to walk the 20 steps to go around the pillar/wall thing. But in our defense, we have classes we need to go to and we need to go to them fast so we cannot afford those extra steps and go around. We want to take the easy way.
So with that being said. I have designed my own solution to the problem.
With this giant, gray, marble pillar/wall thing out of the way, I believe the congestion of people in this area with cease and the flow will be as smooth as a river. I have taken the original design and tweaked it just a bit. I decided to take out the dark gray marble wall thing and split it in to several pillars. That way there will MORE THAN ONE WEDGE! I know some people like the wedge and hold much affection for it so I couldn’t completely get rid of it. So I created a few more wedges for students to hurriedly squeeze by while they go to class. That way traffic can flow in and out through the wedge and people don’t have to wait for the line of traffic to stop coming from one direction to go in the other direction. Problem solved! I hope… I’m no architect but this is sure better then the original design. People will definitely talk about what a genius idea this was for years to come. 🙂
Artist: Amy Duran
Exhibition: Forever By Your Side
Media: Ceramics, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Amy Duran is in her senior year at CSULB’s School of Art. She will be graduating this May with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Her major is Ceramics. She transferred to CSULB to pursue her love for art from Cypress Community College. Duran has always had an interest in the arts ever since she was a little girl. She currently has her own shop on Etsy where she sells special brooches she makes herself using her ceramics talents. She also loves to decorate cakes in her leisure time. Duran is also a huge fan of vintage fashion and nail art. She currently resides in Buena Park with her family where she loves to spend time with her puppy and her bunny.
Duran’s specialty is in ceramics. Upon, walking into her exhibition I was met with a large doll house-like structure that one could walk into and see her art. Walking in to the dollhouse was like walking into to a storybook which is exactly what Duran wanted the viewer to experience. On the three walls, she presents scenes that are the visuals for the fable that is being told on the pages of a beautiful gold story book by each station. The visuals are intricate ceramic sculptures of people and animals she has created to accompany the story of a girl who is scared of growing apart from her inner child.
In her exhibition, Duran uses the story to express her own personal struggles of feeling like she never belongs and feeling anxiety of forgetting her inner child while moving on to become an independent young woman. In the visuals, she tells the viewer it is okay to feel afraid as an adult, and that after childhood we often feel a nurturing reassurance from the stories we read and watch. For this exhibition she created sculptures of toys and pets that she she once had claiming that it is with these things that we form our first and most intimate relationships with in our lives and that they are memories to be truly cherished.
I walked away from Amy Duran exhibition in awe. I completely agree with her that moving into adulthood can be quite a scary journey. It is easy for people to lose themselves in the journey. However, Duran encourages us to feel free to live out our deepest imaginations because that is where our inner-child will always be alive and unafraid to come out and play.